Code of ethics for Authors

These guidelines are adapted from the Elsevier Ethics in Research and Publication documents available at


Authorship issues in research can be complicated. Generally speaking, the authors of a given publication are all those individuals who made significant intellectual contributions to it. Their specific contributions to a work and relative weighting of their contributions is declared by the corresponding Author before publication in the publishing agreement (license). Individuals who did not make significant intellectual contributions should not be listed as Authors. Contributors whose contribution is not significant enough for authorship (e.g., language consultation, data collection, provision of research apparatus) can be acknowledged in an Author’s Note, mentioning the role they played in the research project. Listing individuals who have not made significant intellectual contributions is not acceptable. Examples of this include: “gift” authorship, granted as a favour to another researcher; “guest” authorship, granted to those whose stature in the field is assumed to increase chances of publication. Conversely, “ghost” authorship, wherein one person is the true Author but is not listed among the Authors of a given work is also unacceptable. The Authors list should accurately reflect who contributed to the research being described. All authors are accountable for all contents of the published work, unless contribution break-down is specified in an Author’s Note. It is strongly recommended that a discussion about authorship (including order of authorship) be conducted among potential co-authors before embarking on a joint research project. Disputes regarding authorship (a contribution not acknowledged, or contribution indicated where none existed) will be investigated by the Editorial Board.

Conflict of interest

Any conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest must be explained and/or disclosed. A conflict of interest arises when the basic goal of the pursuit of scientific truth might be compromised by a researcher’s other, concurrent goals. Research funding is one area of concern. A common example is research funded by an organization that could benefit from particular patterns of results. Conflicts can also arise in non-financial contexts. For example, conducting research involving human participants who are also one’s students involves the competing interests of obtaining valid results from voluntary participants as well as maintaining a power-imbalanced teacher-student relationship. Full disclosure of actual or potential conflicts of interest must be made to the journal Editor in a cover letter; the Editor will then decide whether the conflict merits a footnote in the publication itself. Simultaneous submission / Duplicate publication Submitted manuscripts should represent original materials that have not been published before. Submitting a manuscript simultaneously runs the risk of duplicate publication, which would violate this assumption of originality and misrepresent the reliability of the findings. Moreover, it takes up the resources (time, effort) of two editorial teams whose work is likely to overlap. Submitters should wait for feedback from one publisher before submitting the same work to another (if necessary). Exceptions to duplicate publication can be agreed upon in some circumstances before submission, e.g., translations of original articles, with the explicit approval of the prior publisher. These exceptions must be clearly disclosed at the time of submission and fully cross-referenced at the time of publication.

Salami publication

Salami publication refers to the practice of preparing separate publications based on a single study. These ‘slices’ use the same sample and methodology, often the same hypotheses, while being presented as independent. This can be misleading to readers, creating an unwarranted illusion of reliability and limiting the readers’ ability to interpret results in light of all relevant data. When a large data collection is used in separate publications, testing different research questions, Authors should clearly define the relationship of the specific elements described in one manuscript relative to the study procedure as a whole.


Plagiarism occurs when one Author uses another Author’s work (words, phrases, data, or ideas) without due acknowledgement. Specific instructions regarding formatting for referencing ideas, data, or specific words, are given in the APA Publication Manual. All words, data, and ideas not formatted as a reference, using appropriate formatting, are assumed to be the submitting
Author’s. A special case of plagiarism occurs when an Author uses the contents of her/his own previous publicationwithout due indication. This is a type of duplicate submission and should also be avoided.

Research fraud

Research fraud is a grave lapse of ethics. Such fraud occurs when data are presented that were not collected in the way described in the Methods section of a manuscript, or when conclusions are drawn that are not merited by the research conducted. Authors must be extremely careful in describing methodology, apparatus, materials, sampling, and analyses to eliminate the possibility of presenting a false representation of the research as conducted. Images (of materials, processes, equipment, results) should not in general be tampered with. In some cases, improvements can be made for clarity and precision, but these cases must be clearly indicated in the manuscript and discussed with the Editor before submission. To permit verification of research procedures, raw data must be retained (while protecting confidentiality of participants) for 5 years after the publication of any works that include them. More detailed guidelines are available at the Elsevier Publishing Ethics Research Kit (PERK).